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Cal State East Bay students and alumni have the opportunity of connecting with each other both in person and online.

Alumni offer career guidance to students through virtual mentoring program

  • December 21, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following story first appeared in Cal State East Bay Magazine. Read the most recent magazine, The Food Issue; view more photos; and check out back issues online.

Relaxed in an armchair in front of her home computer, Lisa Price ’99 checks her e-mail for updates from Cal State East Bay senior Cheryl Britt. Price lives in Danville. Britt lives in Oakland. They have never met face-to-face. But for the past three months, Price has provided career guidance to Britt through a new Alumni Association initiative, the e-Mentoring Program.

Created by Associate Professor Daniel Martin and Director of Alumni Relations Kate Shaheed, a pilot version of the e-Mentoring Program has been bringing students and alumni together since summer 2010.

The aim of the program, to be launched formally in January, is to develop social and financial capital through technology while removing barriers to achieving community goals, Martin explained.

“People who have mentors move more quickly and are more satisfied with their careers,” he said. “Students need a platform, and alumni can have a tremendously positive impact on them.”

Alumni volunteers register at mentorcsu.org for the three-month program. They are paired with a student with the same major and similar career aspirations. Collaboratively, they choose how to approach the virtual mentoring: by phone, e-mail, or through social networking Web sites.

Britt became a protégé in the program during Martin’s training and development class.

“I’m further along since I’ve done the program,” Britt says. “It’s been a helpful, awesome experience.”

Price, who earned her master’s degree in business administration at CSUEB, works with nonprofit organizations. She learned about the mentoring program from an alumni posting on professional networking site LinkedIn.

By e-mailing each other and speaking over the phone, Price has helped Britt create a resume and post it online. Price further assisted Britt by arranging two interviews related to human resources management, the career Britt wants to pursue with her business administration degree.

“It feels good helping someone get the tools they need to succeed,” Price said. “By taking part in this, (Britt) is happy and is more confident to transition into HR.”

In September, Shaheed and Martin presented the program to the California State University Alumni Council. Seven CSU campuses are now considering adopting the e-Mentoring Program at their universities.

Further information about the e-Mentoring Program is available by contacting the Alumni Association at 510.885.2877 or alumni@csueastbay.edu.

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California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

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